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ISAIAH
The Gospel To Israel
Book 2

LESSON  TWENTY ONE
Isaiah 42:14 - 43:28

Isaiah 42:14
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(14)  I have kept silent far too long, kept still and restrained Myself; now I will scream like a woman in labor, I will pant and I will gasp.

I have kept silent far too long, kept still and restrained Myself; now I will scream like a woman in labor, I will pant and I will gasp.

I have given them respite from of old to see if they would return to the law, and they returned not; as pangs unto a woman with child shall my judgment be revealed to them; they shall be made desolate, and perish together.

From the NKJV
(14)  I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself.  Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once.

The period of  punishment has now lasted sufficiently long;  it is time for Jehovah to bring forth the salvation of  His people.

The standpoint of  these prophecies has the larger half of  the captivity behind it.  It has already lasted a long time,  though only for several decades;  but in the estimation of  Jehovah,  with His love to His people,  this time of  long-suffering towards their oppressors is already an  "eternity" (see Isa 57:11; 58:12; 61:4; 63:18-19; 64:4, cf., vv. 10, 11).

He has kept silence,  has still forcibly restrained Himself,  just as Joseph is said to have done to prevent himself  from breaking out into tears (Gen 43:31).

Love impelled Him to redeem His people
But justice was still obliged to proceed with punishment

Genesis 43:30-31
Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there.  Then he washed his face and came out; and he restrained himself, and said, "Serve the bread."     (NKJV)

Barnes has:
The word shaa'ap (OT:7602) means "to breathe hard,  to pant,  to blow,  as in anger, or in the haste of pursuit."
The idea in the verse is,  that Yahweh had for a long time restrained his anger against his foes,  and had refrained from executing vengeance on them.  But now he would rouse his righteous indignation,  and go forth to accomplish his purposes in their destruction.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(14)   Certainly I have kept silent for a long time. I have kept still and restrained myself. Now I will cry out like a woman giving birth; I will gasp and pant together.
See Note in lesson 15 on the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

Isaiah 42:15
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(15)  Hills and heights will I scorch, cause all their green to wither; I will turn rivers into isles, and dry the marshes up

I will make desolate mountains and hills, and will dry up all their grass; and I will make the rivers islands, and dry up the pools.

I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs, and I will make the rivers islands, and dry up the pools.

From the NKJV
(15)   I will lay waste the mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation;  I will make the rivers coastlands, and I will dry up the pools.

The delivery takes place,  and the whole world of  nature undergoes a metamorphosis,  which is subservient to the great work of the future.

Jehovah's panting in labor is His almighty fiery breath,  which turns mountains and hills into heaps of  ruins,  scorches up the vegetation,  condenses streams into islands,  and dries up the lakes;  that is to say,  turns the strange land,  in which Israel has been held captive,  into a desert,  and at the same time removes all the hindrances to His people's return,  thus changing the present condition of  the world into one of  the very opposite kind,  which displays His righteousness in wrath and love.

The mountains and hills
This verse denotes the utter desolation which God would bring upon his foes in his anger.
He would spread desolation over the hills and mountains that were well watered and laid out in gardens and orchards.  An enemy or warrior marching through a land would seek to spread desolation through all its cultivated parts,  and lay waste all its fields.  God,  therefore,  represents Himself as a conqueror,  laying waste the cultivated portions of  the country of  his foes.

Their vegetation
He would destroy all the grain and fruits on which they were depending for support.

Make the rivers coastlands
Or rather,  dry land,  or deserts.
He will,  in the heat of  His anger,  dry up the streams,  so that the bottoms of  those streams shall be dry land.

Dry up the pools
The pools on which they have been dependent for water for their flocks and herds.
The sense of  the whole passage is,  "I will bring to desolation those who worship idols,  and the idols themselves.  I will produce an entire change among them,  as great as if  I were to spread desolation over their cultivated hills,  and to dry up all their streams."   The reference is probably to the great changes which God would make in the pagan world.
All that flourished on Pagan ground;  all that was nurtured by idolatry;  all their temples,  fanes,  altars,  shrines,  should be overturned and demolished;  and in all these things great and permanent changes would be produced.  The time would have come when God could no longer bear with the growing abominations of  the pagan nations,  and when he would go forth as a conqueror to subdue all to himself.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(15)  I will devastate mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation. I will make the rivers islands and dry up the ponds.

Isaiah 42:16
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(16)   I will lead the blind by a road they did not know, and I will make them walk by paths they never knew. I will turn darkness before them to light, rough places into level ground. These are the promises – I will keep them without fail.

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not, and I will cause them to tread paths which they have not known: I will turn darkness into light for them, and crooked things into straight. These things will I do, and will not forsake them.

And I will lead them that are as the blind by a way that they know not, paths that they have not learnt will I cause them to tread: I will make darkness light before them, and uneven places a plain: these things will I do, and will not reject them.

From the NKJV
(16)   I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;  I will lead them in paths they have not known.
I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight.  These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.

The great thing which is brought to pass by means of  this catastrophe is the redemption of  His people.

The "blind" are those who have been deprived of  sight by their sin,  and the consequent punishment.
The unknown ways in which Jehovah leads them,  are the ways of  deliverance,  which are known to Him alone,  but which have now been made manifest in the fullness of time.
The "darkness" (machshâk) is their existing state of  hopeless misery.
The "crooked places" (ma'aqasshiim) rough places - are the hindrances that met them,  and dangers that threatened them on all sides in the foreign land.

The mercy of  Jehovah

adopts the blind,
lights up the darkness, and
clears every obstacle away.

Hebrews 13:5-6
For He Himself has said,  "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  So we may boldly say:
"The LORD is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?"    (NKJV)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(16)  I will help the blind walk by a way that they do not know. In paths they do not know I will lead them. I will make the dark places before them light and rough places level. I will do these things and I will not abandon them.

Isaiah 42:17
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(17)  Driven back and utterly shamed shall be those who trust in an image, those who say to idols, ‘You are our gods!”

But they are turned back: be ye utterly ashamed that trust in graven images, who say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.

They shall be turned backwards, and be greatly ashamed that serve images, that say to a molten image, Ye are our gods.

From the NKJV
(17)  They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, who trust in carved images, who say to the molded images, 'You are our gods.'

Jehovah's glorious acts of judgment and salvation unmask the false gods,  to the utter confusion of  their worshippers.  And while in this way the false religions fall,  the redemption of  Israel becomes at the same time the redemption of  the heathen.  The first half of this third prophecy is here brought to a close.

The phrases, to be turned back, and to be greatly ashamed, are frequently used in the Scriptures to denote a state of  disappointment in regard to an object of  trust or confidence,  and especially of  those who had trusted in idols.  The sense here is,  that they should find no such protection in their idol-gods as they had hoped,  and that they should be covered with conscious guilt forever,  having trusted in them and given to them the homage which was due to the true God.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(17)  Those who trust in idols will be turned back and utterly shamed, who say to images, “You are our gods.”

Isaiah 42:18-45:15
Jehovah's Controversy With Israel

Isaiah 42:18-25 Remonstrance Morals
Isaiah 43:1-7 Encouragement “Fear not” Israel
Isaiah 43:1-7 Witnesses
Isaiah 43:14-17 Babylon Destruction
Isaiah 43:18-21 Remembrance Negative
Isaiah 43:22-28 Remonstrance Ceremonials
Isaiah 44:1-5 Encouragement “Fear not” Israel
Isaiah 44:6-20 Witnesses
Isaiah 44:21-23 Remembrance Positive
Isaiah 44:24-45:15 Jerusalem Restoration

Isaiah 42:18
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(18)  Listen, you who are deaf; you blind one, look up and see!

Hear, ye deaf, and look up, ye blind, to see.

Ye wicked, that are as the deaf – have ye no ears? – hearken; and ye ungodly, that are as the blind – have ye no eyes? – understand and see.

From the NKJV
(18)   "Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see.

It is the blind whom Jehovah will lead into the light of  liberty,  the blind who bring upon themselves not only His compassion,  but also His displeasure;

for it is their own fault that they do not see
And to them is addressed the summons,
to free themselves from the ban which is resting upon them.

Matthew 13:15
For this people's heart is waxed gross,  and their ears are dull of hearing,  and their eyes they have closed;  lest at any time they should see with their eyes,  and hear with their ears,  and should understand with their heart,  and should be converted,  and I should heal them.   (KJV)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(18)  Listen, you who are deaf; look you who are blind, and see.

Isaiah 42:19
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(19)  Who is so blind as My servant, so deaf as the messenger I send? Who is so blind as the chosen one, so blind as the servant of the Lord?

And who is blind, but my servants? And deaf, but they that rule over them? Yea, the servants of God have been made blind.

If the wicked return, shall they not be called my servants, and the guilty, unto whom I sent my prophets? But the wicked are about to receive the punishment of their transgressions, nevertheless if they return, they shall be called the servants of the Lord.

From the NKJV
(19)  Who is blind but My servant, or deaf as My messenger whom I send?  Who is blind as he who is perfect, and blind as the LORD's servant?

The double question implies that Jehovah's servant and messenger is blind and deaf in a singular and unparalleled way.

The words are repeated, the questioner dwelling upon the one predicate  'iivveer,  "blind,"  in which everything is affirmed,  and,  according to Isaiah's favorite custom,  returning to the opening expression "servant of Jehovah."

It is impossible to read the expression,  "My messenger whom I send,"  without thinking of  Isa 42:1 ff.,  where the  "servant of Jehovah"  is represented as a messenger to the heathen.
With this similarity both of  name and calling,  there must be a connection between the  "servant"  mentioned here,  and the  "servant"  referred to there.  Now the  "servant of Jehovah"  is always Israel in Isaiah

But since Israel might be regarded either

according to the character of  the overwhelming majority of  its members (the mass),  who had forgotten their calling,
       or
according to the character of  those living members who had remained true to their calling,
and constituted the kernel,  or as concentrated in that one Person who is the essence of  Israel in the fullest truth and highest potency,  statements of  the most opposite kind could be made with respect to this one singular subject.

In Isa 41:8 ff.  the "servant of Jehovah"  is caressed and comforted,

inasmuch as there the true Israel,  which deserved and needed consolation,  is addressed,  without regard to the mass who had forgotten their calling.
In Isa 42:1 ff.  that One person is referred to,
who is,  as it were,  the center of  this inner circle of  Israel,  and the head upon the body of  Israel.

And in the passage before us,  the idea is carried from this its highest point back again to its lowest basis.
The servant of  Jehovah is blamed and reproved for the harsh contrast between

its divine calling
       and
its actual conduct
The servant of  Jehovah is blamed and reproved for the harsh contrast between
the idea
       and
the reality
The expression covers two concentric circles, and their one center.
The inner circle of  the  "Israel according to the Spirit"  forms the connecting link between
Israel in a personal sense
       and
Israel in its widest sense
Here indeed Israel is severely blamed as incapable,  and unworthy of  fulfilling its sacred calling;
but the expression  "whom I send"  nevertheless affirms that it will fulfill it - namely,
in the person of  the servant of  Jehovah, in a personal sense,
       and
in all those members of  the  "servant of Jehovah"  in a national sense,
who long for deliverance from the ban and bonds of  the present state of  punishment.
For it is really the mission of  Israel to be the medium of  salvation and blessing to the nations;  and this is fulfilled by the servant of  Jehovah,  who proceeds from Israel,  and takes his place at the head of  Israel.

And as the history of the fulfillment shows,  when the foundation for the accomplishment of  this mission had been laid by the servant of  Jehovah in person,  it was carried on by the servant of  Jehovah in a national sense;  for the Lord Jesus Christ became  "a covenant of the people"  through His own preaching and that of  His apostles.  But  "a light of the Gentiles"  He became purely and simply through the apostles,  who represented the true and believing Israel.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(19)  Who is blind but my servant or deaf like my messenger whom I send? Who is blind like the one allied with me and blind like the Lord’s servant?


ISRAEL'S  OBSTINATE  DISOBEDIENCE

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Isaiah 42:20-22
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(20)  Seeing many things, he gives no heed; with ears open, he hears nothing.

Ye have often seen, and have not taken heed; your ears have been opened, and ye have not heard.

Ye have seen many things, and have not observed; your ears have been opened, but ye have not received instruction.

(21)  The Lord desires His [servant’s] vindication, that he may magnify and glorify [His] Teaching.

The Lord God has taken counsel that he might be justified, and might magnify his praise.

The Lord is pleased to justify Israel, he will magnify them that observe his law, and take hold of them.

(22)  Yet it is a people plundered and despoiled: all of them are trapped in holes, imprisoned in dungeons. They are given over to plunder, with none to rescue them; to despoilment, with none to say “Give back!”

And I beheld, and the people were spoiled and plundered: for there is a snare in the secret chambers everywhere and in the houses also, where they have hidden them: they became a spoil, and there was no one that delivered the prey, and there was none who said, Restore.

But it is a people robbed and oppressed, the young men are covered with shame all of them, and in houses of correction are they shut up: they are for a prey, and there is none that delivers; for a spoil and there is none that saith, Restore.

From the NKJV
(20)  Seeing many things, but you do not observe; opening the ears, but he does not hear."
(21)  The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness' sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable.    (22)   But this is a people robbed and plundered; all of them are snared in holes, and they are hidden in prison houses; they are for prey, and no one delivers; for plunder, and no one says, "Restore!"

The reproof now proceeds still further.
Israel has had many and great things to see,  but without keeping the admonitions they contained;  opening its ears,  namely to the earnestness of  the preaching,

it hears
       and yet
does not hear
In other words,
it only hears outwardly
       but
without taking it into itself.
As Jesus said so many times:  "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Jehovah was pleased for His righteousness' sake (which is mentioned here,  not as that which recompenses for works of  the law,  but as that which bestows mercy according to His purpose,  His promise,  and the plan of  salvation) to make Torâh,  i.e.,  the direction,  instruction,  revelation which He gave to His people,  great and glorious.  The reference is primarily and chiefly to the Sinaitic law and the verbs relate not to the solemnity of  the open declaration,  but to the riches and exalted character of  the contents.

But what a glaring contrast did the existing condition of  Israel present to these manifestations and purposes of  mercy on the part of  its God!  The intervening thought expressed by Hosea (Hos 8:12 b), viz., that this condition was the punishment of unfaithfulness, may easily be supplied.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Hosea 8:12
I have written for him the great things of My law,  but they were considered a strange thing.    (NKJV)

Hidden in prison-houses
They were concealed in their houses as in prisons,  so that they could not go out with safety,  or without exposing themselves to the danger of  being taken captive.  The land was filled with their enemies,  and they were obliged to conceal themselves,  if possible,  from their foes.

No one says, Restore
There is no deliverer - no one who can interpose,  and compel the foe to give up his captives.
The sense is,  the Jewish captives were so strictly confined in Babylon,  and under a government so powerful,  that there was no one who could rescue them,  or that they were so much the object of  contempt,  that there were none who would feel so much interest in them as to demand them from their foes.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(20)  You have seen many things, but you do not observe. His ears are open but he does not hear.   (21)   The Lord had desired, for the sake of his vindication, that he should increase his torah and glorify it.    (22)   Instead, this is a people despoiled and plundered. All of them are trapped in holes and hidden in prisons. They have become prey whom no one rescues, a spoil use different syntax here.) and no none says, “Restore.”

Isaiah 42:23-25
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(23)  If only you would listen to this, attend and give heed from now on!

Who is there among you that will give ear to these things? Hearken ye to the things which are coming to pass.

Who among you will give ear to this? Will hearken, and perceive for the time to come?

(24)  Who was it gave Jacob over to despoilment and Israel to plunderers? Surely, the Lord against whom they sinned in whose Teaching they would not obey.

For what did he give Jacob up to spoil, and Israel to them that plundered him? Did not God do it against whom they sinned? And they would not walk in his ways, nor hearken to his law.

Who hath delivered Jacob for a prey and Israel to spoilers? Was it not the Lord before whom they sinned, and would not walk in ways that were upright before him, and received not the instruction of his law?

(25)  So He poured out wrath upon them, His anger and the fury of war. It blazed upon them all about, but they heeded not; it burned among them, but they gave it no thought.

So he brought upon them the fury of his wrath; and the war, and those that burnt round about them. Prevailed against them; yet no one of them knew it, neither did they lay it to heart.

So he poured upon them the fury of his anger, and the strength of his warriors did he bring against them; and they slew among them round about, and they knew it not; and they ruled over them, but they laid not his fear to heart.

From the NKJV
(23)  Who among you will give ear to this?  Who will listen and hear for the time to come?
(24)  Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers?  Was it not the LORD, He against whom we have sinned?  For they would not walk in His ways, nor were they obedient to His law.
(25)  Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger and the strength of battle; it has set him on fire all around, yet he did not know; and it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.

When they ceased to be deaf to this crying contradiction,  they would recognize with penitence that it was but the merited punishment of  God.

Who ... will give ear to this?
Who is there in the nation that will be so warned by the judgments of  God,

that he will attend to the lessons which he designs to teach,
and reform his life,
and return to him?
It is implied by these questions that such ought to be the effect;  it is implied also that they were so sunken and abandoned that they would not do it.
These judgments were a loud call on the nation to turn to God,  and,  in time to come,  to avoid the sins which had made it necessary for him to interpose in this manner,  and give them to spoil.

Who gave Jacob for a plunder?
Who gave up the Jewish people to be plundered?
The object of  this verse is,  to bring distinctly before them the fact that it was Yahweh,  the God of  their fathers,  and of  their nation,  who had brought this calamity upon them.

It was not the work of chance,
       but it was
the immediate and direct act of God on account of their sins.

Therefore he has poured on him the fury
His righteous indignation in the overturning of  their nation,  the destruction of  their temple and city,  and in carrying them captive into a distant land.

The fury of  Yahweh kindled the flame of  war all around the Jewish nation,  and spread desolation everywhere.

1. They refused to attend to it
2. They refused to lay it to heart
3. They pursued their ways of  wickedness regardless of  the threatening judgments,  and the impending wrath of  God
4. They did not consider that these evils were inflicted for their crimes,
5. They did not turn from their sins when they were thus threatened with the wrath of God
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(23)  Who is among you that will hear this?  Indeed let him pay attention and listen for the time to come. (24)  Who gave Jacob over to be despoiled and Israel to plunderers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, and in whose ways they were not willing to walk and whose instruction they would not obey?   (25)   So he poured upon him the heat of his anger and the fierceness of war. It se hi[m] on fire all around, but he did not recognize it. It burned him, but he did not think about it.



THE  REDEEMER  OF  ISRAEL

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Isaiah 43:1 & 2
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(1)  But now thus said the Lord – Who created you, O Jacob, Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I will redeem you; I have singled you out by name, you are Mine.

And now thus saith the Lord God that made thee, O Jacob, and formed thee, O Israel, fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that appointed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have delivered thee, and called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

(2)  When you pass through water, I will be with you; through streams, they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be scorched; through flame, it shall not burn you.

And if thou pass through water, I am with thee; and the rivers shall not overflow thee: and if thou go through fire, thou shalt not be burned; the flame shall not burn thee.

At the first when ye passed through the Red Sea my Memra was your support, Pharaoh and the Egyptians who were as numerous as the waters of the river prevailed not against you; also at the second time, when ye shall go among the nations that are as strong as fire, they shall not prevail against you; neither shall the kingdoms which are as powerful as a flame destroy you.

From the NKJV
(1)   But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel:  "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.
(2)  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Bora'ªkaa Yahweh Jehovah that created you
This is another Jehovah title = Jehovah boraaka = Jehovah thy Creator.

The tone of  the address is now suddenly changed.
The sudden leap from reproach to consolation was very significant.
It gave them to understand, that

no meritorious work of their own
would come in between what Israel was  -  and what it was to be, but that it was
God's free grace which came to meet it.

He who created and formed Israel,  by giving Abraham the son of  the promise,  and caused the seventy of  Jacob's family to grow up into a nation in Egypt - He also will shelter and preserve it.

This connects back to verse 22:

Isaiah 42:22 They are for prey, and no one delivers; for plunder, and no one says, "Restore!"
Isaiah 43:1 Fear not, for I have redeemed you.

This is mirrored in the battle between the flesh and the Spirit in the life of the believer:
Rom 7:24-25
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!    (NIV)

Rivers ... shall not overflow you
As was the case with the Jordan when they crossed it under the guidance of  Joshua,  and a pathway was made for the armies of Israel.

Joshua 3:14-16
So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), 16 that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan.     (NKJV)

Fire ... shall not scorch you
This is expressive of calamity and danger in general like passing through fire. Yet it had a literal fulfillment in the case of  the three pious Jews who were cast by Nebuchadnezzar into the burning furnace (Dan 3:25,27).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Daniel 3:25-27
"Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."   Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here." Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king's counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.     (NKJV)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(1)  But now thus says the Lord who created you, Jacob, and who formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.   (2)   When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.

Isaiah 43:3 & 4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(3)  For I the Lord am your God, the Holy One of Israel, you’re Savior. I give Egypt as a ransom for you, Nubia and Saba in exchange for you.

For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel that saves thee: I have made Egypt and Ethiopia thy ransom, and given Soene for thee.

For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy savior; I have given Egypt in exchange for thee, Ethiopia and Seba in thy stead.

(4)  Because you are precious to Me, and honored, and I love you, I give men in exchange for you and peoples in your stead.

Since thou became precious in my sight, thou hast become glorious, and I have loved thee: and I will give men for thee, and princes for thy life.

Because thou art beloved before me, thou hast been honored, and I have loved thee, and have delivered the nations in thy stead, and kingdoms for thy life.

From the NKJV
(3)   For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.    (4)    Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life.

I am the Lord thy God = I Jehovah (Yahweh) am thy God (Elohim).
Note the three titles that are found in the next verse to be studied:

(a) He was Israel’s God by covenant
(b) The Holy One of Israel
(c) Thy Savior

Note: Before I go on to Isaiah 43:3,  I want to clarify my reason in believing that the Memra is Jesus before His human incarnation.

THE GENEALOGY OF THE WORD
1. The Beginning Revelation 3:14 “The beginning of the creation of God.”
2. His preexistence John 17:5 “The glory which I had with thee before the world was”
    John 3:13 “He that came down from heaven”
    John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word”
3. The Creator – Word Colossians 2:9 “In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”
    Colossians 1:15 “The image of the invisible God, the firstborn”
    Colossians 1:16 “By him were all things created”
    Hebrews 1:2 “By whom also he made the worlds”
4. The Word made flesh John 1:14 “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”
5. The Word in Revelation Revelation 4:11 “Thou hast created all things”
    Revelation 19:13 “His name is called The Word of God”
    Revelation 22:3 “The throne of God and the Lamb. – Servants serve him”

First of all, God is

Spirit
Invisible
Fills the universe
To deal with man,  He created the Word,  who God used to create all that we know that exists.
Jesus was the earthly name given to the Word of God.
Now I believe in only One God,  not two or three or even seven. (‘The seven spirits of God were before the throne’).  So that is why I use the terminology of  Jesus being the Memra.
Paul the Learner

Egypt…Ethiopia…Seba
These were given to Persia as ransom money (as it were) for the release of  Israel by Persia through the successors of  Cyrus (see Xenophon, Cyr. 8. 6.20; and Herod. i. 153; iii 25).
In the time of Isaiah these three were united under one dynasty.

Since you were precious in my sight
This verse contains another reason why God would defend and deliver them. That reason was,  that he had loved them as his people;  and he was willing,  therefore,  that other people should be overcome in order that they might be saved.

You have been honored
This does not refer so much to their personal character,  as to the fact that they had been honored by Him with being the depository of the precious truths of His religion.  It means that He had made them honorable by the favors bestowed on them.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(3)  I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Redeemer. (Savior MT and LXX) And I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and the people of Seba in exchange for you.   (4)   Because you are precious in my sight and honored, and I love you, I give people in your stead and nations in exchange for your life.

Isaiah 43:5-7
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(5)  Fear not, for I am with you: I will bring your folk from the East, will gather you out of the West;

Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and will gather thee from the west.

Fear not, for my Memra is thy support; from the east will I bring thy children, and from the west will I bring near thy exiles.

(6)  I will say to the North, “Give back!” And to the South, “Do not withhold! Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the end of the earth –

I will say to the north, Bring; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from the land afar off, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;

I will say to the north, Bring, and to the south Keep not back: bring my sons from afar, and the exiles of my people from the ends of the earth.

(7)  All who are linked to My name, whom I have created, formed, and made for My glory –

even all who are called by my name: for I have prepared him for my glory, and I have formed him, and have made him:

All this will I do for the sake of your fathers over whom my name was called and whom I created for my glory: I made ready their exiles, yea I performed miracles for them.

From the NKJV
(5)   Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west;    (6)    I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not keep them back!'  Bring my sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth —   (7)   everyone who is called by my name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him."

Fear Not
tiyraa' 'Al- never fear

The Biblical usage can be divided into five general categories:

(1) The Emotion of fear,
(2) The Intellectual anticipation of evil without emphasis upon the emotional reaction
(3) Reverence or Awe
(4) Righteous behavior or Piety
(5) Formal religious worship
(from Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Copyright (c) 1980 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

16 reasons Israel is told not to fear in Isaiah:

1. Isaiah 7:4 The threats will not come to pass
2. Isaiah 8:12-14 God is their Sanctuary
3. Isaiah 35:4 God will come and save His people
4. Isaiah 41:13 God will help His people
5. Isaiah 41:14 God will help His people
6. Isaiah 43:1-2 God has redeemed his people
7. Isaiah 43:1 They are called by God's name
8. Isaiah 43:1 They are God's people
9. Isaiah 43:1 God is with His people
10. Isaiah 43:2 The rivers will not sweep over them
11. Isaiah 43:2 The fire will not burn them
12. Isaiah 43:2 God is their Savior
13. Isaiah 43:5 God is with His people
14. Isaiah 44:2 God will bless His people
15. Isaiah 51:7-8 God's Salvation is to all generations
16. Isaiah 54:4 God's people will not be ashamed

East…West…North…South
This contemplates a wider and greater deliverance than that from Babylon, even from “the ends of the earth.”

The fact that Jehovah is with Israel will show itself in this,  that He effects its complete restoration from all quarters of the heaven  (compare the lands of the Diaspora in all directions already mentioned by Isaiah in Isa 11:11-12).  Jehovah's command is issued to north and south to give up their unrighteous possession,  not to keep it back,  and to restore His sons and daughters (compare the similar change in the gender in Isa 11:12), which evidently implies the help and escort of the exiles on the part of the heathen (Isa 14:2).

This is a beautiful passage.
All lands are under God's control,  and He could at once command and they would obey -

He calls upon them to yield up his people to their own country
He issues a commandment which is heard in all quarters of the globe -
and the scattered people of God come flocking again to their own land.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

I have created...formed...made
The three synonyms bring out the might, the freeness, and the riches of grace, with which Jehovah called Israel into existence, to glorify Himself in it, and that He might be glorified by it.

bªraa'tiyw (OT: 1254) I have created him to produce as a new thing
yªtsartiyw (OT: 3335) I have formed him to shape what has been produced
`ªsiytiyw (OT: 6213) I have made him to make it perfect or complete
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(5)   Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.   (6)   I will say to the north, “Give up!” and to the south, “Do not hold back!” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth,   (7)   everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed, whom I made.

Isaiah 43:8-10
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(8)  Setting free that people, blind though it has eyes and deaf though it has ears.”

And I have brought forth the blind people; for their eyes are alike blind, and they that have ears are deaf.

I am he who brought forth the people out of Egypt, who were as the blind though they had eyes, and as the deaf though they had ears.

(9)  All the nations assemble as one, the peoples gather. Who among them declared this, foretold to us the things that have happened? Let them produce their witnesses and be vindicated, that men, hearing them, may say, “It is true!”

All the nations are gathered together, and princes shall be gathered out of them: who will declare these things? Or who will declare to you things from the beginning? Let them bring forth their witnesses, and be justified; and let them hear, and declare the truth.

Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the kingdoms draw near: who among them shall declare this? Yea, former things let them announce unto us; let them bring their witnesses, that they may be justified, and let them hear, and say, I is truth.

(10)  My witnesses are you – declares the Lord – My servant, whom I have chosen. To the end that you may take thought, and believe in Me, and understand that I am He: Before Me no god was formed, and after Me none shall exist.

Be ye my witnesses, and I too am a witness, saith the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I am he: before me there was no other God, and after me there shall be none.

Ye are witnesses before me, saith the Lord, and my servant the Anointed One, in whom I am well pleased; that ye may know and believe before me, and understand that I am He: I am He that is from the beginning, yea the everlasting ages are mine, and beside me there is no god.

From the NKJV
(8)   Bring out the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears.
(9)   Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled.  Who among them can declare this, and show us former things?  Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear and say, "It is truth."
(10)   "You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He.  Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.

We come now to the third turn in the second half of this prophecy.  It is linked on to the commencement of the first turn ("Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see."),  the summons being now addressed to some one to bring forth the Israel,  which has eyes and ears without seeing or hearing;  while,  on the other hand,  the nations are all to come together,  and this time not for the purpose of convincing them,  but of convincing Israel.

Here we have the commencement of the evidence adduced by Jehovah in support of His own divine right:

Who among the gods of the nations can proclaim this?
i.e.,  anything like my present announcement of the restoration of Israel?
To prove that they can,
let them cause "former things" to be heard,
i.e., any former events which they had foretold, and which had really taken place;
let them appoint witnesses of such earlier prophecies, and so prove themselves to be gods,
that is to say, by the fact that these witnesses have publicly heard their declaration and confirm the truth thereof.

But whereas the gods are dumb and lifeless,

and therefore cannot call any witnesses for themselves,
and not one of all the assembled multitude can come forward as their legitimate witness,
or as one able to vindicate them,
Jehovah can call His people as witnesses,
since they have had proofs in abundance  that  He possesses infallible knowledge of the future.
From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Before me there was no God formed
I am the only true, the eternal God.
In this expression, Yahweh says that he was the first being.

He derived his existence from no one.
It was an opinion among the Greeks,  that the same gods had not always reigned,  but that the more ancient divinities had been expelled by the more modern.
God here means to say,  in opposition to that,  that he had not succeeded any other God in his kingdom.
His dominion was original,  underived,  and independent.

Nor shall there be after me
He would never cease to live;  he would never vacate his throne for another.
This expression is equivalent to that which occurs in the Book of Revelation,  'I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last'  (Rev 1:11);  and it is remarkable that this language,

which obviously implies eternity,
and which in Isaiah is used expressly to prove the divinity of Yahweh,
is  applied no less unequivocally to the Lord Jesus Christ.
And there is no contradiction here, since Jesus explained in John 10:30: "I and my Father are one."

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(8)   Bring forth (I will bring forth 1Q1sa.  He has brought forth MT.) the blind who have eyes and the deaf who have ears.   (9)   Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the peoples be assembled. Who is among them that could declare this or announce (announce to us MT.) the former things? Let them produce their witnesses so they can be vindicated. Let them proclaim so people will say, “It is true.”

Isaiah 43:11-13
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(11)  None but me, the Lord; beside Me, none can grant triumph.

I am God; and beside me there is no Savior.

I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.

(12)  I alone foretold the triumph and I brought it to pass; I announced it, and no strange god was among you. So you are My witnesses – declares the Lord – and I am God.

have declared, and have saved; I have reproached, and there was no strange god among you: ye are my witnesses, and I am the Lord God,

I declared to Abraham your father what was about to come; I delivered you from Egypt, as I swore to him between the pieces: I caused you to hear the instruction of my law from Sinai: while ye were still alive, and there was no strange god among you; and ye are witnesses before me, saith the Lord, and I am God.

(13)  Ever since day was, I am He; none can deliver from My hand. When I act, who can reverse it?

even from the beginning: and there is none that can deliver out of my hands: I will work, and who shall turn it back?

Yea, from everlasting I am He, and there is none that delivers from my hand: I will do it, and will not reverse it.

From the NKJV
(11)  I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior.   (12)   I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are My witnesses," says the LORD, "that I am God.   (13)   Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?"

The address now closes by holding up once more the object and warrant of faith.

The proper name "Jehovah" is used here as a name indicating essence:  "I and no other am Yahweh - the absolutely existing and living One,"  i.e.,  He who proves His existence by His acts and indeed by His saving acts.

mowshiya` (Savior) and Yahweh are kindred epithets here;  just as in the New Testament the name Jehovah sets,  as it were,  but only to rise again in the name Jesus,  in which it is historically fulfilled.
Jehovah's previous self-manifestation in history furnished a pledge of the coming redemption.

See what it is that the great God glories in,  not so much that he is the only ruler as that he is the only Savior; he is the Savior of all men.

1 Timothy 4:10
With a view to this we toil and strive, [yes and] suffer reproach, because we have [fixed our] hope on the living God, Who is the Savior (Preserver, Maintainer, Deliverer) of all men, especially of those who believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to Him).    (AMP)
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

In the first half (Isa 42:1-17) Jehovah introduced His servant,

the medium of salvation, and proclaimed the approaching work of salvation, at which all the world had reason to rejoice.
The second half (Isa 42:18-43:13) began with reproaching,
and sought to bring Israel through this predicted salvation to reflect upon itself, and also upon its God, the One God, to whom there was no equal.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(11)   I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.   (12)   I declared, I saved, I made it known. There was no strange god among you. You are my witnesses, says the Lord: I am God.   (13)   From this day forth, I am the one, and no one can deliver out of my hand. I work, and who can undo it?

Isaiah 43:14 - 44:5
Fourth Prophecy
Avenging and Deliverance
and Outpouring of the Spirit

Isaiah 43:14 & 15
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(14)  Thus said the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: for your sake I send to Babylon; I will bring down all [her] bars, and the Chaldeans shall raise their voice in lamentation.

Thus saith the Lord God that redeems you, the Holy One of Israel; for your sakes I will send to Babylon, and I will stir up all that flee, and the Chaldeans shall be bound in ships.

Thus saith the Lord, your savior, the Holy One of Israel, because of your sins were ye exiled to Babylon, and I brought them all down in boats, and the Chaldeans in the ships of their rejoicing.

I am your Holy One, the Lord, your King, the Creator of Israel.

I am the Lord God, your Holy One, who have appointed for Israel your king.

I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

From the NKJV
(14)  Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:  "For your sake I will send to Babylon, and bring them all down as fugitives — the Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships.   (15)   I am the LORD, your Holy One,  the Creator of Israel, your King."

Redeemer = Kinsman-Redeemer, Hebrew Go’el.

Babylon - this is the first occurrence of the name in Isaiah.
In close connection with the foregoing prophecy,  the present one commences with the dissolution of the Chaldean empire.

By thus sweeping away both foreigners and natives out of Babylon into the sea,  Jehovah proves what He is in Himself,  and also in His relation to Israel.  The congregation which addresses Him as the Holy One,  the people who suffer Him to reign over them as their King,  cannot remain permanently despised and enslaved.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

THE  “LO-AMMI”  PERIODS IN THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL
When Israel was regarded by Jehovah as “Lo-Ammi,”  i.e.  Not My People  (Hosea 1:8, 2:1)  then Jehovah dealt with them on a different principle in recording time. During these periods their national history years are omitted from the years of the world's timeline. [Missing 38 years in the wilderness]

Hosea 1:9
Then God said:
"Call his name Lo-Ammi,
For you are not My people, and I will not be your God.     (NKJV)
When they were Lo-Ammi, the events recorded in the Scriptures, were recorded according to a reckoning we have termed Anno Dei (in God’s year) and not according to Anno Mundi (in the year of the world). This will explain the problem that people have in studying Biblical Chronology.
Paul the Learner

"The Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships" - Babylon was very advantageously situated both in respect to commerce,  and as a naval power.  It was open to the Persian Gulf by the Euphrates, which was navigable by large vessels;  and being joined to the Tigris above Babylon by the canal called Naharmalca or the Royal River,  supplied the city with the produce of the whole country to the north of it, as far as the Euxine and Caspian seas  (Herodotus i. 194).  Semiramis was the foundress of this part also of the Babylonian greatness. She improved the navigation of the Euphrates  (Herodotus i. 184; Strabo, lib. xvi.); and is said to have had a fleet of three thousand galleys  (Huet, Hist. du Commerce, Isa 11).
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

I am the Yahweh
He here takes to himself such titles of his honor as were very encouraging to them.
He is Yahweh their Redeemer,  not only he will redeem them,  but will take it upon him as his office and make it his business to do so.  If he be their God,  he will be all that to them which they need,  and therefore,  when they are in bondage,  he will be their Redeemer. He is

The Holy One of Israel and therefore will make good every word he has spoken to them
The Creator of Israel that made them a people out of nothing
The King of Israel that owns them as his people and presides among them
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(14)  Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: for your sake I will send to Babylon, and I will break down all the bars, and the Chaldeans’ ringing cry will become lamentation.   (15)   I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.

Isaiah 43:16-21
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(16)  Thus said the Lord, who made a road through the sea and a path through mighty waters,

Thus saith the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty water;

Thus saith the Lord who prepared a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters:

(17)  who destroyed chariots and horses, and all the mighty host – they lay down to rise no more, they were extinguished, quenched like a wick:

who brought forth chariots and horse, and a mighty multitude: but they have lain down, and shall not rise: they are extinct, as quenched flax.

who brought forth the chariots, and horses, yea, armies and a numerous people; they were swallowed up together and rose not; they were extinct, they were quenched like a glimmering wick.

(18)  Do not recall what happened of old, or ponder what happened of yore!

Remember ye not the former things, and consider not the ancient things.

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider that which was from the beginning.

(19)  I am about to do something new; even now it shall come to pass, suddenly you shall perceive it: I will make a road through the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Behold, I will do new things, which shall presently spring forth, and ye shall know them: and I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land.

Behold, I do a new thing, and now shall it be revealed; shall ye not know it? Yea, I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desolate land.

(20)  The wild beasts shall honor Me, Jackals and ostriches, for I provide water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people,

The beasts of the field shall bless me, the owls and young ostriches; for I have given water in the wilderness and rivers in the dry land, to give drink to my chosen race,

They shall honor me when I make the deserted provinces to be inhabited, even the place where the jackals and the ostriches were dwelling; for I have given water in the wilderness, rivers in the desolate land, to give drink to the exiles of my people in whom I am well pleased.

(21)  The people I formed for Myself that they might declare my praise.

even my people whom I have preserved to tell forth my praises.

This people did I appoint for my service; my praises shall they recount.

From the NKJV
(16)   Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters,   (17)   who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power (they shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):    (18)   "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.
(19)   Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.    (20)   The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen.   (21)   This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.

The future deliverance of Israel will be with greater marvels than at the time of the Exodus.

There now follows a second field of the picture of redemption;  and the expression  "for your sake"  is expounded in verses 16-21.

The admonition in verse 18 does not commend utter forgetfulness and disregard;  but that henceforth they are to look forward rather than backward.
The new thing which Jehovah is in the process of working out eclipses the old.

In the passage before us the entire work of God in the new time is called chadâshâh (new),  and is placed in contrast with the ri'shoonooth,  or occurrences of the olden time;  so that as the first part of this new thing had already taken place (Isa 42:9),  and there was only the last part still to come,  it might very well be affirmed of the latter,  that it was even now sprouting up.

He transforms the pathless,  waterless desert,  that His chosen one,  the people of God,  may be able to go through in safety,  and without fainting.  And the benefits of this miracle of divine grace reach the animal world as well,  so that their joyful cries are an unconscious praise of Jehovah.

He knows that when the sufferings of the people of God shall be brought to an end, the sufferings of creation will also terminate;  for humanity is the heart of the universe,  and the people of God (understanding by this the people of God according to the Spirit)  are the heart of humanity.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Matthew Henry observes:

This looks back -
to what God did for Israel when he led them through the wilderness from Egypt to Canaan, and fetched water out of a rock to follow them, and what God did for them formerly he would do again, for he is still the same.
Though we do not find that the miracle was repeated in their return out of Babylon,
yet the mercy was
It looks forward -
not only to all the instances of God's care of the Jewish church in the latter ages of it, between their return from Babylon and the coming of Christ,
but to the grace of the gospel
especially as it is manifested to the Gentile world,
The world,  which lay like a desert,  in ignorance and unfruitfulness,  was blessed with divine direction and divine comforts,  and,  in order to both,  with a plentiful effusion of the Spirit.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(16)  Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters.   (17)   Who brings forth chariot and horse and army and warrior together. They lie down, they cannot rise. They are extinguished, quenched like a wick. 18 Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.   (19)   Wild animals, jackals and ostriches, will honor me, because I am putting (have put MT.) water in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, for my people, my chosen, (my chosen people MT.) to drink,   (21)   the people which I formed for myself, and that they might speak my praise.


PLEADING  WITH  UNFAITHFUL  ISRAEL

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Isaiah 43:22-24
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(22)  But you have not worshiped Me, O Jacob, that you should be weary of Me, O Israel.

I have not now called thee, O Jacob; neither have I made thee weary, O Israel.

It was said through the prophets, but ye did not observe my service, ye that are of the house of Jacob: for ye wearied of the instruction of my law, O Israel.

(23)  You have not brought Me your sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with meal offerings, nor wearied you about frankincense.

Thou hast not brought me the sheep of thy whole-burnt offering; neither hast thou glorified me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with sacrifices, neither have I wearied thee with frankincense.

Thou didst not bring before me lambs for a burnt offering, neither didst thou honor me with they holy sacrifices; I did not increase upon thee oblations, nor did I press hard upon thee with frankincense.

(24)  You have not bought Me fragrant reed with money, nor sated Me with the fat of your sacrifices. Instead, you have burdened Me with your sins, you have wearied Me with your iniquities.

Neither hast thou purchased for me victims for silver, neither have I desired the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou didst stand before me in thy sins, and in thine iniquities.

Thou didst buy me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou made my altar fat with the fatness of thy holy sacrifices; but thou hast multiplied thy transgressions before me, nor thou hast pressed hard upon me with thine iniquities.

From the NKJV
(22)   "But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob; and you have been weary of Me, O Israel.   (23)   You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings, nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices.  I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings, nor wearied you with incense.   (24)   You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices; but you have burdened Me with your sins, you have wearied Me with your iniquities.

It would be the praise of God, however, and not the merits of their own works, that they would have to relate; for there was nothing at all that could give them any claim to reward. There were not even acts of ceremonial worship, but only the guilt of grievous sins.

And we must also not forget that all these prophecies rested on either the historical or the ideal soil of the captivity.  The charge commences with the worship of prayer,  to which the people were restricted when in exile,  since the law did not allow them to offer sacrifice outside the holy land.

The sins of Israel pressed upon Him,  as a burden does upon a servant.  His love took upon itself the burden of Israel's guilt,  which derived its gravitating force from His own holy righteous wrath;  but it was a severe task to bear this heavy burden,  and expunge it - a thoroughly divine task,  the significance of which was first brought out in its own true light by the cross on Golgotha.

When God creates,  He expresses His fiat,  and what He wills comes to pass.
But He does not blot out sin without balancing His love with His justice.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Your sins...your iniquities

Sins chat’a to sin; to miss the mark An act of thought, word, or deed
Iniquities avah perversities A condition, to be bent, or crooked

The design of these verses,  is to show them that they were indebted to the divine mercy alone for their deliverance from bondage.

It was not because they had been either meritorious or faithful
It was not because they had deserved these favors at his hand
for they had been a people that had been distinguished for neglecting their God.
On that account, these calamities had come upon them,
and their deliverance, therefore, was to be an act of  mere unmerited favor.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(22)  And yet you have not invoked me, Jacob; indeed you are weary of me, Israel.   (23)   You have not brought me sheep for a burnt offering, (your burnt offerings Mt) nor have you honored me with your sacrifices. You have not made meal offerings for me. (I have not burdened you with meal offerings 4Q1sa (g)) I have not wearied you about frankincense.   (24)   You have not bought me sweet cane with silver, nor satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. Instead, you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.

Isaiah 43:25
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(25)  It is I, I who – for My own sake wipe your transgressions away and remember your sins no more.

I, even I, am he that blots out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and thy sins; and I will not remember them.

I, even I, am He that forgives thy transgressions for my name’s sake, and thy sins shall not be remembered.

From the NKJV
(25)   "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.

He remembers our infirmities (which man forgets),
but will forget our sins (which man remembers).

The sustaining power of divine love is greater than the gravitating force of divine wrath.

The threefold repetition of the subject, "I, even I, am He"  is intended to affirm that this blotting out of sin is so far from being in any way merited by Israel,  that it is a sovereign act of His absolute freedom.

And the expression  "for my own sake,"  that it has its foundation only in God,  namely,  in His absolute free grace,  that movement of His love by which wrath is subdued.

I will not remember
They shall not only be forgiven,
That that was forgiven, shall be forgotten.

Hezekiah (Isa 38:17) expresses the same idea by saying 'You have cast all my sins behind Your back.'

We may learn from this verse:

1. That it is God only who can pardon sin.
How vain,  then,  is it for man to attempt it!
How wicked for man to claim the prerogative!
2. That this is done by God solely for his own sake.
(a) It is not because we have any claim to it,
for then it would not be pardon
(b) It is not because we have any power to compel God to forgive,
for who can contend with him, and how could mere power procure pardon?
(c) It is not because we have any merit,
for then also it would be justice, and we have no merit.
(d) It is not primarily in order that we may be happy,
for our happiness is a matter not worthy to be named, compared with the honor of God.
But
(a) It is solely for his own sake
(b) It is to promote his glory
(c) It is to show his perfections
(d) It is to evince the greatness of his mercy and compassion
(e) It is to show his boundless and eternal love
3. They who are pardoned should live to his glory, and not to themselves.
For that they were forgiven, and it should be the grand purpose of their lives so to live as to show forth the goodness, compassion, and love of that merciful Being who has blotted out their sins.
4. If people are ever pardoned,  they must come to God - and to God alone.
They must come, not to justify themselves, but to confess their crimes.
And they must come with a willingness that God should pardon them on just such terms as he pleases;  at just such a time as he pleases;  and solely with a view to the promotion of his own glory.
Unless they have this feeling, they never can be forgiven.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(25)  I, I am the one who blots out your transgression (transgressions MT) for my own sake, and I will remember your sins no longer.

Isaiah 43:26
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(26)  Help me remember! Let us join in argument, tell your version, that you may be vindicated.

But do thou remember, and let us plead [judged] together: do thou first confess thy transgressions, that thou mayest be justified.

Say now, let us enter into judgment together; recount thou, if thou canst, that thou may be justified.

From the NKJV
(26)  Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.

Jehovah now calls upon Israel,  if this is not the case,  to remind Him of any merit upon which it can rely.
Justice accuses, and grace acquits.
Or has Israel any actual merits, so that Justice would be obliged to pronounce it just?

The language here is taken from the practice of courts when a cause is on trial;  and God urges them on their side,  to urge all in self-vindication which they can urge.  On his part, he alleged

(Isaiah 43:27) that the princes and rulers of the nation had sinned
(Isaiah 43:23-24) that the whole nation had transgressed
(Isaiah 43:28) that for this they were justly punished
He here urges them to advance all in self-defense which they could - if they could pretend that He had forgotten anything;  that they had merits which he had not considered;  or that he had charged them with undue severity.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(26)  Recall it for me. Let us argue together. Present your case, so that you may be vindicated.

Isaiah 43:27
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(27)  Your earliest ancestor sinned, and your spokesmen transgressed against Me.

Your fathers first, and your princes have transgressed against me.

Thy first father sinned, and thy teachers rebelled against my Memra.

From the NKJV
(27)  Your first father sinned, and your mediators have transgressed against Me.

Various interpretations have been given of the phrase 'Your first father.'
It has been referred to as:

Adam
Abraham
Jacob
The high priest, and particularly to Uriah
High priests in general
The succession of priests or ancestors in general
However, if we stay with the context, the next verse seems to indicate it is Jacob.

At any rate, Israel's history had been a string of sins from the very first.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(27)  Your first ancestor sinned, and your interpreters have transgressed against me.

Isaiah 43:28
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(28)  So I profaned the holy princes; I abandoned Jacob to proscription and Israel to mockery.

And the princes have defiled my sanctuaries: so I gave Jacob to enemies to destroy, and Israel to reproach.

Therefore I will profane the holy princes, and deliver up Jacob to slaughter and Israel to revilings.

From the NKJV
(28)  Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; I will give Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

Profane the princes
Esteemed or treated them as persons not sacred.
Left them to suffer the same treatment as the common people,  stripped of their holy office and in captivity.

Give Jacob to the curse
A solemn anathema, or excommunication.

Israel to reproaches
Contempt, and scorn which they met with in their captivity, and in a land of strangers.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(28)  Therefore I profaned the holy princes; I devoted Jacob to destruction and Israel to reviling.


LESSON  21  FROM  THE  AMPLIFIED  VERSION

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Isaiah 42:14 - 43:28 - from the Amplified Version

42:14     [Thus says the Lord] I have for a long time held My peace, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry out like a woman in travail, I will gasp and pant together.
(15)  I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their herbage; I will turn the rivers into islands, and I will dry up the pools.
(16)  And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known. I will make darkness into light before them and make uneven places into a plain. These things I have determined to do [for them]; and I will not leave them forsaken.
(17)  They shall be turned back, they shall be utterly put to shame, who trust in graven images, who say to molten images, You are our gods.
(18)  Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see!
(19)  Who is blind but My servant [Israel]? Or deaf like My messenger whom I send? Who is blind like the one who is at peace with Me [who has been admitted to covenant relationship with Me]? Yes, who is blind like the Lord's servant?
(20)  You have seen many things, but you do not observe or apprehend their true meaning. His ears are open, but he hears not!
(21)  It was the Lord's pleasure for His righteousness' sake [in accordance with a steadfast and consistent purpose] to magnify instruction and revelation and glorify them.
(22)  But this is a people robbed and plundered; they are all of them snared in holes and hidden in houses of bondage. They have become a prey, with no one to deliver them, a spoil, with no one to say, Restore them! [This shows the condition that will ensue as Israel's punishment for not recognizing the Servant of the Lord and the day of His visit among them.] [Luke 19:41-44.]
(23)  Who is there among you who will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear in the time to come?
(24)  Who gave up Jacob [the kingdom of Judah] for spoil, and [the kingdom of] Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, He against Whom we [of Judah] have sinned and in Whose ways they [of Israel] would not walk, neither were they obedient to His law or His teaching?
(25)  Therefore He poured out upon [Israel] the fierceness of His anger and the strength of battle. And it set him on fire round about, yet he knew not [the lesson of repentance which the Assyrian conquest was intended to teach]; it burned him, but he did not lay it to heart.

43:1     BUT NOW [in spite of past judgments for Israel's sins], thus says the Lord, He Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
(2)    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.
(3)    For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt [to the Babylonians] for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba [a province of Ethiopia] in exchange [for your release].
(4)    Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and because I love you, I will give men in return for you and peoples in exchange for your life.
(5)    Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east [where they are dispersed] and gather you from the west. [Acts 18:10.]
(6)    I will say to the north, Give up! and to the south, Keep not back. Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth —
(7)    Even everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made.
(8)    Bring forth the blind people who have eyes and the deaf who have ears.
(9)    Let all the nations be gathered together and let the peoples be assembled. Who among [the idolaters] could predict this [that Cyrus would be the deliverer of Israel] and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses, that they may be justified, or let them hear and acknowledge, It is the truth. [Psalms 123:3,4.]
(10)  You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know Me, believe Me and remain steadfast to Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.
(11)  I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior.
(12)  I have declared [the future] and have saved [the nation in times of danger], and I have shown [that I am God] — when there was no strange and alien god among you; therefore you are My witnesses, says the Lord, that I am God.
(13)  Yes, from the time of the first existence of day and from this day forth I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand. I will work, and who can hinder or reverse it?
(14)  Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake I have sent [one] to Babylon, and I will bring down all of them as fugitives, [with] all their nobles, even the Chaldeans, into the ships over which they rejoiced.
(15)  I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.
(16)  Thus says the Lord, Who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters,
(17)  Who brings forth chariot and horse, army and mighty warrior. They lie down together, they cannot rise; they are extinguished, they are quenched like a lampwick:
(18)  Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old.
(19)  Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
(20)  The beasts of the field honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen, [Isaiah 41:17,18; 48:21.]
(21)  The people I formed for Myself, that they may set forth My praise [and they shall do it].
(22)  Yet you have not called upon Me [much less toiled for Me], O Jacob; but you have been weary of Me, O Israel!
(23)  You have not brought Me your sheep and goats for burnt offerings, or honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not required you to serve with an offering or treated you as a slave by demanding tribute or wearied you with offering incense.
(24)  You have not bought Me sweet cane with money, or satiated Me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have only burdened Me with your sins; you have wearied Me with your iniquities.
(25)  I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
(26)  Put Me in remembrance [remind Me of your merits]; let us plead and argue together. Set forth your case, that you may be justified (proved right).
(27)  Your first father [Jacob, in particular] sinned, and your teachers [the priests and the prophets — your mediators] transgressed against Me.
(28)  And so I will profane the chief ones of the sanctuary and will deliver Jacob to the curse (the ban, a solemn anathema or excommunication) and [will subject] Israel to reproaches and reviling.

 

(End of  Lesson 21)


  

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